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Obama meets Bush at the White House

November 11, 2008

Ahead of his historic January 20 swearing-in, President-elect Barack Obama [Images] visited the White House and held discussions with its current occupant George W Bush [Images] on Monday.

Obama, accompanied by wife Michelle, was received by President Bush and first lady Laura Bush at the mansion's South Portico.

'America, we have come so far'

The Obamas' trip to Washington DC materialised after Bush extended an invitation to the President-elect and his wife to visit their future home.

After their arrival and a brief greeting session, the Obamas went about their separate ways -- the President-elect closeting with Bush while Michelle Obama went on a tour of the mansion with First Lady Laura Bush.

Barack Obama, as I knew him

The meeting between the 43rd and the 44th Presidents comes six days after Obama defeated Bush's Republican successor John McCain [Images] after a bitterly fought campaign, which saw the Democrat coming down heavily on the incumbent's 'failed policies'.

Even before the much awaited meeting could take place, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino [Images] said that details of discussions between the President and the President-elect were going to remain private except for some general 'readouts' that may be made available to the media.

The Man Who Wasn't There

Few details of the Bush-Obama discussions have been disclosed but it is generally believed that the historic Oval Office meeting did go over a number of pressing domestic and foreign policy issues.

In fact, on more than one occasion the Obama campaign, the advisors and the President-elect himself had talked about the graciousness of the current incumbent in extending an invitation to stop by the White House this week, the modalities of which were quickly worked out.

US still caught in Obama fever

The distinct impression from the Bush administration is that it will be going about its usual business over the next six weeks, trying to give finishing touches to some of its policies.

Bush is leaving the White House with perhaps the worst disapproval rating an American President ever has had -- 76 per cent, much lower than what Head of the State Richard Nixon had when he quit office in 1974 with impeachment hanging over his head.

At the same time, political observers are looking at an extremely confident Obama entering the Oval Office on January
20 next year, keen on bringing to closure certain controversial elements of the Bush administration such as a final decision on shutting down the Guantanamo Bay naval facility that is housing a number of terrorists.

Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

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